Monday, December 10, 2007

All Hail the Dolphins?

There are plenty of awards that recognize excellence in professional athletics. The Heisman, the Stanley Cup, The Lombardi Trophy, and each league’s MVP all go to exceptional teams or athletes. Teams and players that raise the standards for futility and ineptitude, however, are overlooked when it comes to awards time. At Giving 111%, we make an effort to give these chumps their due. With the Miami Dolphins looking to become the first team in history to go 0-19 (0-16 in the regular season, and 0-3 in the playoffs), I thought it would be appropriate to stack them against the worst professional sports teams since the turn of the century.

2002 Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Record: 55-106
Star Player: Randy Winn (middle name: Rarely) batted .298 and stole 27 bases. Although the Mets must have seen something in Victor Zambrano and his 5.53 ERA.
Achievements: This is more if a lifetime achievement award for a team who has never seen third place since they came into the league. Their leading home run hitter was Ben Grieve, with 19. Their ace was the late Joe Kennedy, with an 8-11 record.
What’s happened since?: In 2004, the Devil Rays achieved their equivalent to a World Series victory as they finished in fourth place in the AL East, ahead of the Baltimore Orioles. They’ve been back to the basement the past 3 years, although they have some talent now with pitcher Scott Kazmir and hitters Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena.

2005 Atlanta Hawks
Record: 13-69 (.159)
Star Player: Antoine Walker averaged over 20 ppg, but shot just .415 from the field before being traded to the Boston Celtics.
Achievements: 13 wins in a whole season? This team never won back to back games, and won a grand total of two games in February and March combined. Opponents averaged 102.5 points against this squad, which included an aging Walker, a young Boris Diaw and rookie Joshes Smith and Childress.
What’s happened since?: Childress, Smith and Tyronn Lue still remain from the last team to approach 70 losses. The Hawks are looking to finally get out of the cellar this year.

2001 Carolina Panthers
Record: 1-15 (.063)
Star Player: Former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke threw for 11 TDs and 19 interceptions in his rookie year. Was recently passed by Drew Henson as biggest football/baseball bust.
Achievements: Started the season with a victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Lost their next 15 games, ending the season with a 32 point loss to the Pats. Ranked 31st in the league in offense and defense. Their leading rusher was Richard Huntley, and their leading receiver was Donald Hayes.
What’s happened since: Were in the playoffs two years later, as Steve Smith, a rookie for the one-win team, emerged as one of the NFL’s best receivers.

2003 Tigers
Record: 43-119 (.264)
Star Player: Dmitri Young actually had a very good year, hitting .297 with 29 home runs.
Achievements: Fell just one loss short of the Mets record of 120 losses. Mike Maroth became the first 20 game loser in 23 years, and Jeremy Bonderman was one loss away from joining him. Their offense wasn’t much better, as they hit .240 as a team.
What’s happened since: The Tigers won the AL pennant in 2006, as they revamped their offense and pitchers Verlander and Bonderman matured.

2007 Miami Dolphins
Record: 0-13 (projected 0-16) (.000 for you mathematicians)
Star Player: Running back Ronnie Brown was averaging almost 100 yards a game and over 5 yards a carry until a week 7 injury ended his season.
Achievements: It looks as though they will likely become the first team since the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers to run the table in the wrong direction. This terrible team got even worse when it lost starting QB Trent Green and RB Brown for the season. Amazingly, they have thrown just 3 touchdowns since Green was injured early in week 5. They lost by 27 points to the 3-10 Jets. Their best chance at a victory is this Sunday against the Ravens at home, and I don’t see it happening.

The 2007 Non-Roberto Clemente Award goes to…

Michael Vick

Who else? Sorry O.J., but even you can’t compete with Vick’s level of stupidity. First, Vick cost himself millions of dollars, some of the prime years of his career and his freedom by getting involved with Bad Newz Kennels, the world’s most famous dog-fighting operation. He then managed to get months tacked onto his sentence when after agreeing to plead guilty he tested positive for marijuana. The proper additions are now being built into Nike’s Michael Vick Experience roller coaster.

Picture Credit:

By Andrew Vitelli

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